'He shattered her': B.C. court awards woman $200K in damages as compensation for domestic abuse
Warning: This story contains details that some readers may find upsetting
A man's prolonged physical and psychological abuse of his female partner turned her home into a "prison," a B.C. judge said, awarding the victim more than $200,000 in damages in a civil case.
The ruling was handed down in B.C. Supreme Court last week and details a harrowing series of assaults and threats over a period of nearly two years. The judge awarded the woman every cent of the damages she sought, totalling $204,068.33.
The woman, identified by the initials S.C., told the court her fiancé turned into "a bomb, a monster, a beast” when he drank. The decision identifies him with the initials I.E.W.
S.C. testified that her fiancé had a serious addiction to alcohol, which she realized almost immediately after they began living together in 2016.
"Before Mr. W. moved in, her home was her haven. After he moved in, it became her prison," the judge said.
The first time he hit her was within weeks of him moving into her home. At that point, she told the court, he was drinking two mickeys of vodka per day.
"When Ms. C. was on her knees collecting empty and partially empty mickeys of vodka, Mr. W. grabbed a bottle and hit her in the back of the head/neck/upper shoulder area with it. After that, confrontations became routine. Mr. W. began to regularly hit Ms. C. with a bottle, his fist, and/or he would push her down. After these assaults she would go outside and cry," Justice Catherine Murray wrote in the decision.
She estimated that he consumed about two mickeys of vodka a day until he was injured in a car crash in 2017.
After that, he would drink as many as six mickeys daily, according to S.C.
"His assaults became more forceful and frequent. He began hitting her five to six times a week," Murray said.
In addition to the frequent physical assaults, the judge said verbal abuse and threats were both serious and relentless.
"He continually demeaned her and called her vulgar names. He continually told her that she was crazy. He threatened to kill her. He kept a rifle under the bed that they shared, as well as knives and a machete on the bedside table. She lived in fear that he would use them on her while she slept," the decision says.
"He turned her home from a sanctuary into a 'living hell.'"
S.C. also told the court that when she told I.E.W to move out – which she estimates she did on at least 100 occasions – she would be subjected to more abuse.
That was what happened on the day before I.E.W was arrested in 2018 after what the court decision describes as the "most prolonged and violent assault of all." I.E.W was never charged or convicted but did enter into a peace bond in 2019 which meant he was under court-ordered conditions not to contact S.C. or go to her home. He also forfeited his firearms licence and the guns that were seized when he was arrested, according to the decision.
WEIGHING THE EVIDENCE
S.C.'s case included evidence from medical professionals, including a doctor who treated her chronic pain and severe headaches and said they were caused by "repeated physical abuse." A psychiatrist also told the court S.C. was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder "from the assaults and abuse."
A civil case doesn’t require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the court has to decide the case on a balance of probabilities, determining what is more likely than not to have occurred.
The judge found S.C. to be a credible witness and noted that documents, reports and testimony corroborated her account.
I.E.W testified, but the judge noted that he did not call any additional witnesses or submit any documents. Further, his testimony was described as vague, confused, and contradictory.
While he "categorically denied" assaulting his fiancé prior to his accident in 2017, he also told the court that he has "no memory" of what happened after this accident, but that abusing S.C. would not have been consistent with his personality or character.
"His evidence did not make sense, nor was it supported by any other evidence. In fact, it was contrary to the other evidence. Overall, I am uncertain as to whether his confusion and lack of memory are genuine," Murray explained when assessing his credibility.
"I accept Ms. C.’s evidence. Where Mr. W.’s evidence conflicts with Ms. C.’s evidence, I prefer Ms. C.’s evidence."
Regarding his drinking, I.E.W. told the court that he does not have a problem, which he acknowledged was an opinion that his doctor and his ex-fiancé disagreed with. He admitted to carrying mickeys in his jacket pocket, but said that was a habit he picked up while in South Korea and that he primarily drank beer and rarely consumed vodka.
He also admitted to completing residential treatment for alcohol addiction, but said he only went to comply with a court-ordered condition. Asked why he told the police he was drunk when he was arrested, he told the court that "the meaning of drunk depended on the circumstances."
"On the evidence before me I have no trouble concluding that Mr. W. is guilty of the torts alleged—assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress," Murray wrote, before detailing the damages she would award.
S.C. was seeking $110,000 in non-pecuniary damages as compensation for the injury and suffering caused by the abuse, which the judge granted, saying, in part, "the physical and psychological impacts of Mr. W.’s abuse have greatly impacted the quality of Ms. C.’s life and will continue to do so indefinitely."
The court also awarded S.C. $20,000 in damages for trespass, which S.C. claimed because I.E.W. refused to move out.
"I find that Mr. W. continued to occupy Ms. C.’s home without her consent," Murray wrote, noting that I.E.W. did not make any financial contributions to the household. The decision notes that he only worked one day during the entire time he lived with his fiancée.
The victim was also awarded $25,000 based on an estimate of the cost of future care and $9,068.33 as reimbursement for counselling and other expenses incurred as a result of the abuse.
S.C. also claimed and was awarded $20,000 in aggravated damages, which the judge explained are meant to compensate for mental distress.
"He shattered her," the judge said.
An additional $20,000 in punitive damages were sought and awarded.
"This award is intended to send a message to Mr. W. and like-minded individuals that violence against your partner will not be condoned," the decision said.
"Intimate partner violence is a pervasive issue in our society. It is difficult to police as it generally happens in private. When a victim does speak out, the courts must act."
The Shopping Trends team is independent of the journalists at CTV News. We may earn a commission when you use our links to shop. Read about us.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Chilly nights and snow-covered slopes may not be easy to come by in much of Canada during the first part of the winter season, according to the winter outlook from one of Canada's prominent forecasters.
Andre Dawson wants to be immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Chicago Cub – not a Montreal Expo.
Japan's coast guard has found a person and debris in the ocean where a U.S. military Osprey aircraft carrying eight people crashed Wednesday off southern Japan, officials said.
International mediators worked Wednesday to extend the truce in Gaza, hoping the territory's Hamas rulers will keep freeing hostages in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners and further respite from Israel's air and ground offensive. It will otherwise expire within a day.
In a column for CTVNews.ca, personal finance writer Christopher Liew tackles 'quiet hiring' -- a term referring to companies that quietly hire from their own talent pool rather than look elsewhere -- and outlines some tips for employees on how to take advantage of the practice.
The Chicago Blackhawks said Corey Perry engaged in unacceptable conduct and took a step Tuesday toward terminating his contract, the latest twist involving the veteran winger who was mysteriously scratched and sent home last week without explanation.
Forty-one workers are rescued from a collapsed tunnel in India, a Liberal MP apologizes for linking the Conservative leader to shootings in Winnipeg and a town's residents will vote on Pride crosswalks. Here's what you need to know to start your day.
A small group of Montreal high school students are completing a 10-week program on cutting hair, learning everything from basic techniques to what it's like to run a barber shop.
Leah Rowntree was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in April, shortly before B.C. announced it would send patients like her to Bellingham, Washington for radiation therapy. On Tuesday, Rowntree had her first radiation treatment. But she chose to pay for it in Houston, Texas, not trusting the B.C. system to get her into treatment in the province—or in Bellingham—in time.
Animal welfare workers in British Columbia will be recommending animal cruelty charges after 44 neglected dogs and cats were seized from a derelict and garbage-filled home on a small, southern Gulf Island near Nanaimo.
The Vancouver Canucks might be having a winning season, but when Stacey Donison heard her husband shouting joyfully from the kitchen, it had nothing to do with the hockey game he was watching.
A man convicted of manslaughter for his role in the death of a Calgary police officer almost three years ago has been granted full parole.
Calgary police say speed and alcohol are being investigated as factors in a Monday crash that killed one person.
A Calgary business owner is disappointed after thieves targeted his business twice over the past week, making off with some expensive inventory.
The Alberta government said Tuesday it would give major industries up to 12 per cent in grants on eligible capital costs for carbon capture, utilization and storage.
Property tax bills won't be as high as initially feared – thanks to some modest hacking and slashing by city councillors – but Edmontonians will still have to pay more next year.
A Toronto man said he was devastated to find out his family photos, children's artwork and other precious items had gone missing while stored in a storage unit.
The Ontario government is set to release its long-promised "business case" today for moving the Ontario Science Centre from its current east Toronto location to Ontario Place, on the city's waterfront.
The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a wild 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers Tuesday night.
As overtime costs rise to $1.7M, Montreal police chief says patrols in Jewish, Muslim communities will continue
With the number of hate-motivated incidents rising in Montreal, the chief of police says protection for Jewish and Muslim communities will continue to make them feel safe from violence.
There was an outpouring of sadness, tears and love at Montreal's Bell Centre on Tuesday as thousands of music fans joined the remaining members of beloved folk-rock band Les Cowboys Fringants in paying tribute to lead singer Karl Tremblay.
A major federation of Quebec health-care unions announced on Wednesday that their 80,000 workers are set to strike Dec. 11-14.
A Manitoba doctor has been found guilty of sexually assaulting five of his former female patients during medical appointments.
A police shooting near Pembina Highway on Tuesday morning has left one man dead.
CN Rail has launched a lawsuit against a group of pro-Palestine protesters who set up an hours-long blockade on train tracks in Winnipeg.
A retired Saskatoon couple says they're being forced to scale back Christmas after they received a bill from SaskPower for almost ten times more than usual.
City councillors approved an $8 million increase in spending next year for the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).
Saskatoon police responded to an unusual call where they were confronted with an escaped cow.
Regina’s city administration is projecting a deficit of $1.6 million at the end of 2023, recommending the city use its reserve funding to cover the difference.
An emergency alert concerning drinking water in Maple Creek sent to phones across Saskatchewan Tuesday afternoon was a mistake.
A Saskatchewan labour arbitrator has ordered a Regina-based company to reinstate two employees who were fired for refusing to follow its COVID-19 policy.
Homeless encampments in Halifax are attempting to restore tents brought down by the latest strong wind and rain storm to hit Nova Scotia.
Newfoundland and Labrador's police watchdog agency says it has charged an RCMP officer with assault.
The city of Halifax held it’s first budget meeting Tuesday after staff recommended a property tax increase of 9.7 per cent to make up for a revenue shortfall of $68.7 million dollars.
A new app co-designed by Western University researchers looks to help women dealing with intimate partner violence.
London’s cold weather strategy was never going to bring everyone experiencing homelessness inside this winter— but a political push almost cut the number of overnight spaces by more than half.
An Ornge air ambulance carried an injured student to a London, Ont. hospital after a school bus slid into a ditch and crashed into a driveway near Wingham, Ont. Tuesday morning, injuring three of the seven students on board.
Acting on behalf of another government agency, Ontario Provincial Police in Blind River, Ont., found weapons and drugs while doing a wellness check on children.
Security video released from inside a holding cell in Orillia in 2019 shows the interaction between an officer and a woman accused of intoxication that resulted in an assault conviction for the eight-year OPP veteran.
Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police has received an alert from the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund about a new fraud targeting its members.
A pig somehow got loose Tuesday afternoon on Highway 8 in Kitchener, Ont.
The eastbound lanes of Highway 403 between Brantford and Highway 52 just outside Hamilton were closed for at least four hours Tuesday after a series of crashes police say were caused by whiteout conditions.
A Waterloo pet store is asking for the public’s help after someone stole a 10-week-old kitten named Crosby.